London, talks in Europe 1967
Talks in Europe 1967 4th Public Talk London 24th September 1967
YESTERDAY WE WERE talking about violence, and I think this morning we should go into the question of what is peace - whether it is at all possible in a world that is totally committed to war. Whether human beings can live at peace in a society that follows war, killing, armaments, as a way of life in a world that is divided into nationalities, into religious groups, all at war with one another. Is it at all possible, living in this society? But as a human being, can one live at peace within oneself and perhaps also outwardly? Because, mere cessation of violence which, I think, we went into sufficiently yesterday, does not necessarily mean a state of mind which is at peace within itself and therefore at peace in all its relationships.
Our relationship to human beings is based on the image-forming, defensive mechanism. In all our relationships, each one builds, forms, an image about the other, and these two images have relationship, not the human beings. The wife forms an image about the husband, very carefully - perhaps not thoughtfully, consciously - but nevertheless it is there; she has an image about the husband, and the husband has an image about the wife. One has an image about one's own country and an image about oneself. To these images we are always adding more and more, to strengthen them. And these images have relationships, if one observes that very deeply. And so the actual relationship between two human beings, or between many human beings, completely ends when there is the formation of images. I think one can observe this in oneself, and relationship based on these images obviously can never bring about peace in relationship, because the images are fictitious and one cannot live an abstraction. And yet that is what we're doing: living in ideas, in theories, in symbols - as the nation, as images that we have created about ourselves and about others, which are all abstractions, not realities at all. All our relationships whether it be with property, with ideas or with people, are essentially based on this image-forming, and hence there is always conflict.
Is it possible for us as human beings, who have lived for millions of years, who are supposed to be fairly civilized, who have been conditioned by organized religions to talk easily about peace, is it actually possible, not theoretically, not politically, but actually, to be completely at peace within ourselves and therefore in our relationships with others? Because all life is a movement in relationship, otherwise there is no life at all. And if life is based on an abstraction, on an idea, on a speculative assumption, then such abstract living must inevitably bring about a relationship which becomes a battlefield.
And so one asks oneself whether peace is at all possible; not in some fantastic mythical abstract world, but at the office, in daily life? You know there are chants in India about peace; the prayer says, `May there be peace to everything, to the animals and human beings', and so on - marvellous chants, written probably many thousands of years ago, but during all these years there has not been peace, there have been incessant wars; two and a half wars every year for the last five thousand years. And if one wishes (or rather demands) peace, and lives in peace - what does it mean to live in peace?
I think we should go into this question very carefully, because we have made our life into a battlefield, a conflict - not only with a neighbour, whether that neighbour be next door or a thousand miles away, but also a conflict in ourselves. Our being is a battlefield, torn by various desires, contradictions, fears, frustrations, anxiety and endless sorrow. And can we actually transform all that - become or be completely peaceful?
I know this question has been asked by thousands through thousands of years. They've tried through prayers, through various forms of identification with something greater than oneself. One has accepted various forms of so-called peace, but actually in daily life we are not at all peaceful. We kill animals, we kill each other, and so on.
So is it possible to live completely peacefully inwardly at great depth? Which does not mean that one goes to asleep, or stagnates - on the contrary. We have to find that out, we have to go into it very carefully, and I hope we can this morning.
You know, I think we ought to understand each other about this question and not just merely listen to a series of words and ideas, either accepting or denying them, or blocking oneself, saying, `Peace is not possible in this monstrous world'. But rather, go into oneself, not psychoanalytically, nor theoretically, but actually, step by step, and find out if it is at all possible to live without any conflict, without any effort, and yet live completely at the highest level.
To go into it completely one must understand the nature of effort, the nature of conflict, because most of us are in conflict, having many, many problems, both psychological and objective, economic, and problems of the mind and the heart. And these problems inevitably bring conflict; a problem means conflict, otherwise there would be no problem at all. We are talking about psychological problems rather than economic, political ones (I don't know why we are ruled all over the world by such stupid politicians - I don't know if you have considered what the world is being reduced to). And to enquire into this question of peace, not intellect- ually, not verbally, but actually, one has to understand conflict; conflict being a problem, principally a psychological problem.
A problem exists only when we are incapable of dealing with it completely. It only exists when we deal with a total psychological problem fragmentarily, or emotionally, or escape from it. Apparently we are not capable of meeting a problem entirely. First of all one has to be aware not only of the problem, the nature of the problem, the structure of the problem, but also one has to be able to meet it - not eventually, not gradually, taking time over it - but to meet it immediately and resolve it immediately, so that the problem doesn't take root in the mind. So the first question is: all life is a problem, living is a problem, and there is no escape from it but how to meet it entirely, completely, as it arises, and be beyond it, so that it does not take root in the soil of the mind? And how is this to be done? Because the more one allows a problem of any kind to linger, to endure for a day or for a month or even for a few minutes, it obviously distorts the mind; is it possible to meet a problem without any distortion and be completely free of it, immediately? I do not know if you have thought about it; if you have, you must have gone into it. You must have seen that in every movement of life unless there is a complete, total meeting of it there is a problem; the inadequate meeting of this movement in life is a problem. And can I - as a human being - meet these problems as they arise and not let a memory, a scratch on the mind, remain? These memories are the images which we carry about with us, and these images meet this extraordinary thing called life and hence there is a contradiction, because life is very real - life is not an abstraction. When one meets life with images, then there are problems.
I hope, that you are listening not to the words, but are using the speaker as a mirror in which you see yourself. After all, that is the purpose of these talks here - not to gather lot of ideas and arguments and make clever repartee, but rather to observe oneself and the movement of one's own mind and heart and one's whole being actually as it is without any image. If you do, then perhaps we can discover how to live completely and totally in peace - with oneself and therefore in relationship with others.
As we said, the problem exists only in time; that is when I meet an issue incompletely. And this incomplete coming together with that issue, creates a problem. When one meets a challenge partially, then that fragmentary meeting brings about a problem. Can I meet that challenge or that issue, that question, that fear or that anxiety - whatever it is - completely, that means with complete attention? It's only inattention that breeds problems. Isn't it? That is when I am not giving my full, complete attention, then I have a problem, and, having a problem, still being inattentive, that problem goes on and I hope to solve it one of these days.
Now take the question of death, which is an immense problem for most people. Is it possible to meet it completely and not make it a problem at all? Obviously, to meet it, all belief, all hope, all fears about it must completely come to an end, otherwise you are meeting that extraordinary thing with a conclusion, with an image, with a premeditated anxiety. Therefore you are meeting it with time. I don't know if you understand.
Time is that interval between the observer and the observed. That is, the observer, the `me' is afraid - I am afraid to meet that thing called death. I don't know what it means. I've all kinds of hopes, theories - I believe in reincarnation, in resurrection and so on. As long as there is an interval between the observer with all his beliefs, fears, hopes, sorrows, feelings of self-pity, and that issue, that fact which he observes (a time interval, which is space) there must be contradiction and hence conflict. Are you following all this? Look Sir, I am afraid of dying. Either I rationalize my fears and therefore build a resistance against the inevitable, or I treat life as a jolly good thing and again escape, or I have innumerable beliefs which protect me from the fact. Hence there is a gap between myself and the thing of which I am afraid. In this time-space interval there must be conflict, which is a form of fear, anxiety, self-pity and all the rest of it. Is it possible to meet the so-called death without this space time interval? That is only possible, if one observes very closely and deeply, when the observer has no continuity, the observer who is the builder of the image, the observe who is the collection of memories, ideas, a bundle of abstractions. Is it possible to meet any issue without this time interval and hence with no contradiction and therefore with out conflict?
After all, when one is talking about peace one also has to understand what love is, Because I do not see how there can be peace without love. Love is not an abstraction, not an idea. Love is not desire and pleasure. And to understand the nature of love, one has to go into this question of conflict. Essentially, conflict arises when there is a contradiction. That contradiction is engendered by the observer, by a centre which has continuity as memory.
So our question is: living in this world, being conditioned by a society which we have built, a society which is based on war, hate, envy, aggression, of which I am part - can I meet all these issues immediately, completely, and be free of them? The problem is how to observe - how to observe death, fear, greed, aggression, hatred, how to meet it, how to see it without that space and time interval? I hope we're understanding each other; if not, perhaps after I have talked you can ask questions about it.
Your know, various methods have been tried to destroy the space between the observer and the observed; through drugs, through identification, through meditation, following every form of system, method, hoping to eliminate this space interval between the observer and the observed and thereby be free of contradiction and conflict, and so bring about peace.
I do not think any system, any drug, any identification, any form of sublimation can possibly bring about this ending of space. But what does end space and time? It is the way that one looks, observes; I think that is the key - to actually observe without any image; that's why one has to become very simple about all this. To observe a flower without any mentation taking place, to observe without any thought interference; for thought is time and time is sorrow. And to look at death without fear, without any rationalization, without any hope and belief. Just to observe! That is to actually die to the pleasure that you have had yesterday and to the memory of that pleasure.
But as we said, love is not desire nor pleasure. Pleasure is the continuity of a desire which thought has thought about constantly. yesterday one has had sexual pleasure and thought is thinking about it, chewing; it and giving it continuity. And this thought about desire, which becomes pleasure, is obviously not love because thought cannot engender love; it can engender sensuality, pleasure, further strengthen desire. Desire is normal - when you look at a beautiful tree, a flower, a nice face and so on, the reaction is normal, healthy, but when thought interferes with it, giving it continuity as pleasure by thinking about it, then that pleasure is obviously not that thing one calls love; and thought cannot possibly cultivate love. Is it possible for thought to be completely absent when there is a desire? To look at a beautiful car: seeing, sensation, desire, and then thought comes in saying `I wish I had it'. And thought, thinking about it, cultivates pleasure. Is it possible to look at that car without any interference - if one can call it so - of thought?
Like love, beauty is not the cultivation of thought. A thing of beauty is not beauty. Beauty is not in the thing, in the building, in the person; but there is that beauty which is not the result of conditioning, in which thought in no way interferes. And observing all this within oneself, if one has gone sufficiently deeply, if you have done it with me, with the speaker this morning, one finds that one can live without any conflict, any contradiction. Contradiction exits when there is comparison; not only with something, but also comparison with what I was yesterday. And hence conflict arises between what has been and what is. There is only what is when there is no comparison at all - and to live completely with `what is', is to be peaceful. Because then you can give your whole attention to `what is' without any distraction to what is within oneself, whatever it be - despair, ugliness, brutality, fear, anxiety, loneliness, and live with, what is, completely. Then there is no contradiction and hence no conflict.
The understanding that comes only through observation of what is, is peace; which doesn't mean that you accept what is, on the contrary, one can't possibly accept this monstrous, corrupt society in which one lives, yet it is what is. But observe it, all its psychological structure, which is me, observe that me without any judgment, any evaluation - to see actually what is and as one observes the `what is', be changed completely. Therefore one can live at peace with one's wife or husband, with one's neighbour, with society, because one is oneself, daily, living a life of peace.
Questioner: Krishnaji, is dying to everything every day the gateway to love.
Krishnamurti: I am afraid it's not, that's just an idea. I do not know why we give such extraordinary importance to ideas. We want love, we don't know what it is, but we want it. And to get that, one searches, seeks, one invents various gateways, paths, still in the realm of ideas, and one knows very well that an idea can never open the door to love - never, because idea is organized thought and thought can only give pleasure, can only breed further satisfaction. After all, there is the relationship of people who are married, the deep satisfaction that one derives, which one calls love. To find out what it is that man has sought and called love, you can't seek it, you can't go after it. Oh, it's so simple, isn't it, really?
Questioner: Please Sir, sometimes when one is in great despair, and anxiety, peace will suddenly come - I do not know why.
Krishnamurti: Peace suddenly comes, when one is in great anxiety or great despair - it happens. Is that peace? I'm not saying it is not. When one is exhausted by sorrow, in that exhaustion and loneliness, in that sense of complete cessation of everything that has been - the companionship and everything else having come to an end - in that there is a great deal of sorrow. Sorrow is also self-pity, and out of this turmoil perhaps one gets a breath of peace. But surely sorrow is not the way to peace? (Questioner interrupting). Perhaps you do get, you learn, something out of sorrow and that learning does bring peace; that is the question. Do you learn anything from sorrow? Yes? Let's observe it, shall we, don't say yes or no.
Questioner: Perhaps it brings you to a crisis?
Krishnamurti: Sorrow is the result of a crisis, and what does one learn out of sorrow? Wait a minute Madam - we'll find out what causes it. But do you learn anything from sorrow, and when you do learn, what have you learnt? Either not to have any more sorrow, how to defend yourself, how to resist sorrow, or how to avoid sorrow - but actually what has one learnt? And what is sorrow? The sorrow of loneliness, the sorrow of not being loved, or loving, the other person not responding, the sorrow of ignorance about oneself, the sorrow of death in which there is a great deal of self-pity.
What do we mean by sorrow? And because we don't understand it, we worship it in the church.
Questioner: Sorrow is non-reconciliation with the fact.
Krishnamurti: But why should you be reconciled with the fact? The fact is. Why should you seek reconciliation with the fact, with what is? Because you have an idea, an image about the fact.
So what is sorrow? And why is it that man has never solved it, never ended it in himself? Is it possible to completely end sorrow, not theoretically but actually? It can end only when there is complete understanding of oneself. Self-knowledge is the ending of sorrow. We don't want to take the trouble to study ourselves, and we invent so many ways of escaping from sorrow.
As long as there is the observer with all its memories, this entity that is separate, that brings about a time interval between what is and himself, there must be sorrow, sorrow being conflict. And to end that sorrow actually, not in words, but to end that sorrow every day, is to be aware of the total movement of oneself all the time. Yes, Sir?
Questioner: Can one attain the state of peace near nature in a non-industrialised civilization, on an island somewhere, away from violence?
Krishnamurti: I am afraid if one runs away one won't find peace because we are the mess. You know, they have tried to find peace in monasteries, by renouncing the world, by never looking at a woman - because a religious man says woman is a temptation, is of the devil - you know all that stuff, and he has withdrawn from life into a monastery or taken a robe.
Questioner: In a primitive society - not necessarily in a monastery.
Krishnamurti: Go back to a primitive society? Sir, to live with oneself is one of the most difficult things in life, whether you live in a primitive society or in a highly industrialized, so-called cultured society. One can't escape from oneself. And it is oneself that is creating this havoc. Therefore, what is important is not the society in which we live, but rather the of the relationship between yourself and society in which you are. Either one can understand oneself totally, immediately - that is the only way to understand oneself, there is no other way. Or one can say: I will gradually learn about myself, every day, little by little, adding more and more to my knowledge about myself. When you add knowledge about yourself, you are not studying yourself, you're studying what you have acquired and through that knowledge you are looking at yourself. Yes Sir?
Questioner: It appears that we don't take the trouble of looking into ourselves, looking at our sorrow, our miseries and what we are. But Sir, I can see this in part and went out of my way to give full attention to what I am, to look at sorrow, to look behind indolence, not being in contact with reality. But the more I look at it, the more I think about it, the more it seems that I am confused - and I just feel confused.
Krishnamurti: I understand, Sir. What is confusion? Confusion exists only when I am not facing what is. And when one is confused, the more one tries to clear oneself of confusion the more confused one gets; so firstly, what does one do when one is confused?
I am confused. I do not know what to do; there are various choices. And I realize where there is choice there must be confusion. And I am confused, so what shall I do? First, I stop, don't I? I stop, I don't search, ask, demand, look, watch. If you've ever been lost in a wood you don't go chasing about, you first stop, look around. But the more one is confused the more one chases, searches, asks, demands, begs. So the first thing - if I may suggest - is to stop completely, inwardly. And when you do stop inwardly, psychologically, all movement of search, choice, enquiry, your mind becomes very peaceful, very clear. Then you can look. It is only with clarity that one can look, not with confusion.
Questioner: When one looks, various images arise and trying to look without images is distraction.
Krishnamurti: I don't quite understand this question. I look at you, I don't know you. And therefore I have no image about you. But if I know you I look at you with the image I have about you. That image has been built, put together, by what you have said - either as an insult or in praise - and with that image I look at you. The image is a distraction from looking at you. I can only look at you when I have no image of you at all; then I am really in relationship. Is it possible to die to the image I have built, the images I have made about you for so many years, living with you as a wife or a husband, or a neighbour - or the image that I have about the relationship - all that? Can I die to all that? If I don't die, those images are an abstraction or a distraction, and therefore it is not possible to look. If I have an image about the tree, I cannot look at the tree. Questioner: One of our problems is how to look at you without an image. I for instance, have heard you first when I was aged twelve and now I am about fifty. This lady over here had the same problem I had this morning as regards death. We understand the significance, you talked about that years ago. Now, my image tells me: Krishnaji said yes, or no, and I see the truth of this - let's die to each moment. This lady repeated this and brought a new phrase in. I think it is a very real problem at all these discussions and meetings.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, I understand that. You have an image about me because you have listened and the image has said to you, die to everything that you have known. But you don't die, you have your particular pleasures, carefully stored up, memories of the things that you have had, the remembrance of past things which you cherish.
But these images are not going to help you to meet that enormous thing called death. And so is it possible to die to every form of the known, including the image of the speaker? Otherwise the image becomes the authority, which means abstraction becomes an authority, not the actual state. You see, we are always doing this, aren't we? Always ploughing, ploughing, ploughing. Never sowing. Because we are so frightened to sow and see what happens. We may have produced weeds, or we may produce most marvellous grain, but we want to plough, and never sow. You can only sow when there is no image whatsoever.
24th September 1967
London, talks in Europe 1967
Talks in Europe 1967 4th Public Talk London 24th September 1967
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